We’re still six months away from the first ball being footed in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but the draw was held today in Brazil to determine the match-ups in the first round of the 32-team tournament. In the first round, the teams are divided into eight groups of four teams each. Here’s a TSN graphic that shows the groupings. A seeding process is used to ensure you don’t get four top-tier teams playing each other in the opening round, but the vagaries of the draw typically result in a so-called “Group of Death” that boasts three solid contenders and a not half-bad fourth team.
This tourney’s two candidates for the not so coveted designation are Group D which features England, Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica and Group G which features Germany, Portugal, the United States and Ghana. From its base in Sao Paulo, the U.S. will also be required to do a fair bit of travelling (14,000 km in total) to play its three round robin games. Brazil’s humid tropical climate is expected to exact a toll on some teams too — especially when games are scheduled for day-time. Argentina, meanwhile, is regarded as having got the best opening draw of the top contenders through its placement in Group F with Nigeria, Iran and newcomer Bosnia & Herzegovina.
You can read more on the match-ups here. But one first-round highlight promises to be a rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final — a penalty-filled affair in South Africa that saw Spain claim the title with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands. Host Brazil and rival Mexico are also scheduled to meet in the first round.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup goes June 12-July 13, 2014 in Brazil.